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You’ll Take a Shining to Stephen King Burlesque at Vancouver’s Rio Theatre

Burlesque, Events

March 20, 2017

Geekenders, Vancouver’s ‘cult sensation’ (Vancity Buzz) burlesque

troupe celebrating fandom, pop culture and alternative beauty, has announced a new

burlesque spectacular celebrating the work of Stephen King.

In the past four years Geekenders shows have drawn over 40,000 audience members

to shows ranging from a musical comedy take on the Portal video games to a cabaret-
style show exploring the world of Doctor Who, as well as consistently appearing in ‘Best

Burlesque Troupe’ lists all over the city, and shut down pop culture conventions with

packed houses, and changed the face of Vancouver’s theatrical community, making

theatre and burlesque accessible to an entirely new demographic of people.

In that tradition, Geekenders’ brand new burlesque variety show, ‘We All Float Down

Here: A Burlesque Tribute to Stephen King’ at the Rio Theatre on March 25th. ‘We All

Float Down Here’ is a burlesque, dance, and comedy show celebrating the oeuvre of

Stephen King through a vaudeville lens, creating a world where the horror writer’s films

collide in a Ziegfeld Follies-style explosion of glitter and showgirls.

Featuring FIFTEEN of Vancouver’s biggest nerdlesque names!

RIANNACONDA!
REBEL VALENTINE!
JAYNE FONDUE!
FANNY OAKLEY!
VERONICA VAMP!
TRIXIE HOBBITSES!
TYLR BOURBON!
SEAMUS FIT-IT-IN!
KITTY GLITTER!
ANDROSIA WILDE!
REAR ADMIRAL ZIGGY STARBUTTS!
GINGER FEMMECAT!
DRACO MUFF-BOI!
MISS DEE TWENTY!
ANITA JOHNSON!

“We pick the things we do to coax people out to see live theatre or burlesque, people

who might not have been previously interested,” says Geekenders artistic director

Fairlith Harvey. “There’s so much to see, from body-positivity and exclusively feminist

content, to gender blind casting, LGBT-friendly shows, goofy humour, and intricate

dance routines.”

Geekenders’ production of the Vegas-style nerdlesque revue ‘We All Float Down Here:

A Burlesque Tribute to Stephen King’ runs Saturday, March 25th. Tickets are available in

advance at riotheatretickets.ca. For more information about Geekenders, visit

geekenders.ca or facebook.com/Geekenders

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Vancouver Theater: Jurassic Parody

Culture, Reviews

November 18, 2015

It’s been more than two decades since Jurassic Park graced cinemas. Sure, the book had come out before that, but it’s the movie we remember – the magic of the cast combined with the direction and the effects have stood the test of time, creating a classic. We all remember the first time we saw Ian Malcolm, the first time we heard that triumphant music, the moment where we understood how dangerous velociraptors were.

ian-malcolm-jeff-goldblum-jurassic-park

I am the man your man could talk like.

Jurassic Park changed us. Impacted us like a meteor crashing down from on high. It was that powerful. It spawned a couple of direct sequels and, more recently, another sequel that may spawn a trilogy in and of itself. And, even more recently than that, the Geekenders theater company has created Jurassic Parody.

Geekenders is Vancouver’s nerdlesque theater troupe, doing everything from small variety shows to larger burlesque efforts to special events, but this is only their second effort at putting on what the more prudish might consider a legitimate musical theatrical production. The first was Portal, and Portal was cute. Jurassic Parody is a much stronger performance overall, and lives up to the promise of parody.

See, Portal stayed very close to the story of the second game. It added musical numbers, sure, but it still kept to the plot points and didn’t deviate much.

At first, Jurassic Parody looks like it might do the same, but there are signs that it is going to veer in different directions early on. For the most part, the first act sets up much of the same points and plots as the movie it is based on, but then the second act happens and everything goes out the window in the best possible way.

He story shifts, changes, mocking itself, the tropes and memes it birthed, the sequels that followed, and even other Geekenders productions. The final result is something spectacular, a breath of fresh air that is every bit as amusing as the original book was challenging, rife with strong performances, clever ideas, and interesting twists that take familiar characters to their logical extremes.

The main human cast does a lot of heavy lifting and is tied together by John Hammond as played by Rob Gillespie, who brings a manic optimism to the part. John is barely tolerant of the people around him questioning his brilliance even after everything goes completely wrong, and seems amused by the horrors around him right up until they get in the way of him opening his park. His final song, I Dreamed a Park, is lovingly sung over the corpse of a velociraptor while the ghosts of his victims hover around him.

Promo Photo 2

Look at them. So young. so hopeful. So not eaten by dinosaurs.

It’s a beautiful moment that is overseen by a smirking Ian Malcolm, as played by Graeme Thompson. Graeme has been a part of the Geekenders crew for years and is one of the most talented actors in the Vancouver scene, and he echoes Jeff Goldblum’s famous portrayal with smarmy charm. He’s perfect, piping in with small barbs, hitting on Ellie whenever possible, and generally being the confident sexy manbeast that every fan of the movies knows that he was.

Because, let’s face it – the most dangerous animal in that park was the unbridled sexiness that was that rockstar of a mathematician.

Speaking of Ellie Sattler, her part sees wild expansion in this, and Annette Reilly, the actress that plays her, adds a sense of oblivious glee to the role. Movie-Ellie got in a few decent lines but had little impact on the plot – her role was to force growth and change on others, but she doesn’t change herself in the movie. She also doesn’t change in Jurassic Parody, but she is aware of that lack of change and happy about it. She also gets and action sequence that helps move the story forward, a harrowing chase with velociraptors in the absence of her love, Dr. Alan Grant.

Longstanding Geekenders performer Stephan Blakeley takes on Alan Grant with his usual air of quiet confident disdain. He’s a soft presence, a solid focal point of charisma upon which every other character takes root. We get some callouts to his previous roles in older Geekenders productions, but its his resigned acceptance that makes Dr. Grant such an intriguing character here and becomes the tie by which every other character is defined.

Stephen Blakeley is an actor you learn to appreciate the more you see of him; like a fine wine, you appreciate the subtlety of his craft from one production to the next, learning to spot the small moments he brings to each performance. The man is a foundation stone upon which most Geekenders shows build themselves, and Jurassic Parody is no exception.

The other human actors turn in solid performances all around, ranging from the bratty perfection of John’s grandchildren played by Caitlain Carhoun and Ryan Carson, to the doctors played by Jesse Alvarez and Ali Watson. The character of Muldoon is parodied in a brilliant turn by Sean Fabisch, who pulls of the same trick with Dennis Nedry.

Of all the human characters, though, the one who gets the most change from the source material is Donald Gennaro. The lawyer is openly disdained by the rest of the cast, but becomes the most sympathetic of the humans due to a clever script and the timing of actor Kyle Harland. It’s a character full of surprising moments, and so when his death comes – as it must – we feel his loss.

He is, of course, eaten to death by the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The costume design in this is kind of badass.

The costume design in this is kind of badass.

As good as the humans are, however, anything based off Jurassic Park is going to live or die on the quality of the dinosaurs. Jurassic Parody is no exception.

The costumes are eye-catching, glitzy, and cool. The Triceratops is adorable. The velociraptors have mastered showtunes and are able to harmonize their murderous rampages. The vegesaurus clearly dislikes children as much as the rest of us. And the Tyrannosaurus Rex…

We all wanted more of the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the original movie, didn’t we? She got two scenes, really, that bit with the goat and then when she saved the day at the end. Her appearance here is masterfully built, and actress Alison Jenkins owns it when she finally does show up. Everyone else is cute when they sing, but the Tyrannosaurus Rex is operatic. She dominates.

So when she comes out in the middle of the second act and laments her lack of a role in this play, we know something is up. When she comes to save the day at the end, she’s not doing it out of altruism – she’s here to murder everyone, and there’s no one and nothing that can stop her. She is a force of nature, and Alison Jenkins plays her like one.

Jurassic Parody is playing from Tuesday, November 17 through to Saturday, November 21 a the York Theater on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. You can find more details by clicking here, and you should. This was an awesome show. Recommend it we do.

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From Newb to Nerdlesque

Lifestyle

July 4, 2014

Burlesque was originally about making fun of politics. Now it’s about making fun. The new burlesque movement we’re seeing in Vancouver makes some really biting social commentary, as befits its origins. It’s also all-inclusive, welcoming and celebrating people of all shapes, sizes, genders, orientations, origins, everything. It’s about putting yourself, your personality, your creativity on stage. You can do whatever you want. You can do everything. (more…)

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Wicked Ways: Delightfully Devious

Reviews

July 3, 2014

If you had the chance to see your favourite Disney Villains come to lascivious life onstage, would you? The answer is clearly yes, if the massive crowd at the Rio on a Wednesday was any indication. The theatre was Friday-levels of packed, and from all the cheering, they were not disappointed. (more…)

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The Empire Strips Back [Review]

Uncategorized

May 2, 2014

Like the original movie, Geekenders’ A Nude Hope took us by storm with its originality and charm. And like The Empire Strikes Back (widely regarded as the best instalment in the trilogy), Empire Strips Back is a worthy successor, taking everything from the previous show and turning it up to eleven. (more…)

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The Empire Strips Back [Cast Video Interviews]

Interviews, Videos

April 28, 2014

I was invited to attend the press preview of Geekenders upcoming Star Wars burlesque parody show, The Empire Strips Back. Following up the massive success of their original Star Wars: A Nude Hope as well as the vastly entertaining Wizards of Bras, the nerdlesque troupe is defintiely raising the bar with Empire. I had a chance to chat with some of the cast on camera, so here’s what they had to say: (more…)

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Geeksville, Population – You.

Interviews

April 23, 2014

Beautiful, Intelligent people taking off their…

Socially constructed stereotypes, what else?  Vancouver has made a safe, inclusive place for everybody to explore themselves and their passions. Welcome to Geeksville. (more…)

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Star Wars – A Nude Hope

Uncategorized

December 4, 2013

1461744_604389469615444_575518952_nBrought about by popular demand, the Rio Theatre will host a very special encore presentation of Geekender’s Star Wars: A Nude Hope. Why? Because both of the original shows sold out, leaving The Rio to turn away between two and three hundred people. The Geekenders know what they are doing. And this? This was a masterpiece.

With over 25 of the best performers that the Vancouver burlesque and improv scenes have to offer, this was an amazingly awesome show created by Fairlith Harvey and the Geekenders! As if we Star Wars fans aren’t sexually frustrated enough, all nerdlesquers can now unite as the Empire strips back in this original theatrical production.

Featuring lightsaber walk-offs, sexy droids, beautiful human x-wings and tie fighters, explosions of confetti, genius selection of music and brilliant acting this was both mind-blowing and epic. The only thing lacking was a golden bikini clad Leia twerking her ass off, but maybe, of we’re all extra good this Christmas, Fairlith and the Geekenders will round out the trilogy…? One has to have hope. A nude hope. I am waiting impatiently for the return of fabulous dancing and singing, more (and better than our) puns, and tons of nostalgia and fandom with a cast that includes sexy appearances from Chewbacca, Darth, Hans, R2D2, Luke, and many more, all crafting an impressive two-act adaptation of this classic cinematic masterpiece.

1410684_604387742948950_18609257_oJust remember, if you’ve been looking for love in Alderaan places – I am telling you now that R4 is red, and R2 is blue, so if you want to feel the force, I’d be there if I were you. And Fairlith, you are the Obi-wan for me!

Tickets are $20 in advance at www.riotheatretickets.ca or $25 at the door.
(Assuming there are any seats left, that is. There won’t be. Remember, they sold out two nights in a row already, so mark your calenders.)
Saturday December 14th & 15th. You must be there. The Force demands it.
Doors at 7pm, show starts promptly at 8pm

UPDATE:
Check out our video interview with Geekenders’ Fairlith Harvey!

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